Thursday, September 17, 2009


Ok, we were going to write more about the Fabricated Luther. We got to what kind of pressure my Grandfather was under and we did not finish his story. There are so many stories to tell.

At a 75th birthday on Sunday, I fished out someone else's WW II stories, which were also interesting. The people who are getting old now are the ones who were children when the war was over. They relate stories of people who were older than they, their parents' or their husband's stories. Soon we won't be able to speak with that generation any more.

What else my grandfather told was that after the war he was dismissed from his service because he had worked in the finance department and therefore had been forced to be a party member. The military government let them all go en mass, and then sent them to a tribunal where they could clear their names if possible. He brought in his witnesses and got a very favorable evaluation, only getting labeled as "Mitlauefer", i.e. not an active promoter of Nazism. Then this process was repeated via a more strict evaluation and his evaluation turned out even better than the less strict process, he was pleased to report. He could prove that he had been faithfully attending church and Bible study and not been an active Nazi. He explains when and where this exactly happened. He must have received his final and favorable judgment in Erbach/Odenwald. Thus he was "de-nazified" by the military government.

During the war, we've already heard, he claimed his rights under "reasons of faith and conscience" to refuse certain types of activities. Among things he refused to do was to report on "Volksgenossen", that is to spy on the rest of the population and file reports. He had to do something for the party, which he chose to do in the "Luftschutz", which has apparently something to do with getting people in an out of air raid shelters. He also chose not to quit the church which most of his colleagues did.

The main repercussions were that he had to keep reporting to the human resources, why did or did not do what he did, which I am sure was nerve wracking for him. But Dr. Wert kept giving him decent evaluations. The most high up personnel chief, "ein strenger Nazi", a very strict Nazi, however, never returned any greetings of his and ignored him altogether.

After the war and his de-nazification evaluation he was given work in Wiesbaden at the Staatshauptkasse.

That's all I have on that. I would have been curious to know if they knew about the "final solution" and if there were any Jews in their area who were taken away. The lady I talked to on Sunday said that they did not know because there were no Jews where they lived (country close to Pfortzheim). Except in 1944 there was a transport through their town where some of the townspeople brought them bread though they were threatened to be shot for doing so.


Steve said...

God bless men and women like your Grandfather!

You must be very proud of him.

I never met the man and because of what you have told me, I am very proud of him.

Thanks for sharing, Briggite.

Brigitte said...

Well, so what do we think? Should he have done something differently? I'd hate to sit in judgment on people whose dilemmas I never was in. Plus hindsight is always different and there is no end to could have/should have's, as we all well know.

Making a straight confession and sticking to it over time and taking your lumps for it, whatever they turn out to be seems reasonably courageous to me for a simple citizen. Although, he was not a simple citizen. He had an office.

If everyone had risen up in a different fashion, what would have been different? More would have been sent for systematic extermination. A kind of suicide?

People discuss Kristallnacht and did people do enough? Probably not; Bonhoeffer would certainly say it was not enough. People were too quietist. Yet, surely such an event would intimidate many severely, worrying about their own hide.

I wonder, too, how much was known, when there was no TV or internet, only controlled radio and propaganda machine.

Ruth said...

My, I seem to be getting some education on a theme of World War II era history. I recently finished a mystery series set in war time England, then a friend gave me The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society novel to read; I randomly picked up The Hiding Place and skimmed it after reading it years ago, and my daughter brought home the movie The Pianist, the story of a Jewish pianist's survival in Warsaw. Then I open your blog and see pieces of your fascinating family history. Thank you for sharing those personal stories, Brigitte.